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An in-depth look at the Bear Grylls Gerber Knife…a.k.a the “Ultimate Survival Knife”
Here’s the deal:
Whenever I hear the word “ultimate” I tend to run for the hills, as far away from that product as possible, because 9 times out of 10, it just turns out to be the ultimate piece of junk.
But here we have a survival knife that’s causing a stir unlike I ever seen before, and it goes by the name Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife. As it turns out, the name is perfectly applicable!
Gerber has been a reliable and trustworthy name for well over 70 years, so when they teamed up with the wild man himself, Bear Grylls, they produced a hybrid survival knife that’s affordable enough for ‘Man vs. Wild’ fans to afford. Essentially, it’s really hard to resist the temptation.
But let me show you why I was so happy with the Bear Grylls Gerber Knife…
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife Review
The Story Behind the Knife
The Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife was conceptualized with its big brother’s – the Gerber LMF II ASEK – proven design, which is a great place to start. I was seriously skeptical given the bad press and the nay-sayers ranting with their fake reviews online, but then my sample arrived and the world suddenly seemed like a much better place.
Straight off the bat the Ultimate Survival Knife looked and felt like it was high quality. Once I managed to free it from the packaging, I got a hold of the 10 inch long knife that sported a blade measuring in at 4.8 inches. That’s a tad bit longer than the Gerber Prodigy and a little shorter than the Gerber LMF II ASEK by the way.
It’s definitely a meaty knife since it weighs in at 14.7 ounces with the sheath and 11.2 ounces without.
I was impressed with the drop point fixed blade that’s made of high carbon stainless steel, its similar to 440B Stainless, so it’s good and solid.
What I didn’t like was the fact that it’s made in China, that kind of made me doubt its durability, but luckily it still comes with Gerber’s Lifetime Limited Warranty. The “made in China” part is probably why they can afford to retail this knife for such an affordable price?
The Blade Details
Since the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife sports a drop point blade design, you get strength across the entire length of the blade and an edge that stays sharper for longer. Corrosion shouldn’t be an issue since the blade is made from high quality stainless steel, and with a three-quarter tang construction, it should be able to handle anything you throw at it.
If you really need full tang construction, consider the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate PRO Survival Knife. It’ll cost you roughly $30 more, but weigh up your preferences and needs.
The Bear Grylls Gerber Knife has a half serrated blade, so it goes from fine to a serrated edge towards the handle. I like these kinds of knives (most wilderness survival knives sport them these days in anyway) because they’re able to saw through a wider range of materials and the serrated part will probably keep cutting way after the fine edge has dulled out.
It does come available in a plain edge version too, Gerber’s answer for the folks who had beef with the serrated edge, but personally I’d recommend you go ahead and get the half-serrated version.
Sharpening the edges of this knife was easy enough, especially if you use a Cheap Knife Sharpener like the Lansky Blade Medic.
The injection molded plastic handle on the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife is covered with a texturized rubber coating, which means it’ll still be comfortable to hold even after extended use, always providing you with a solid, secure and non-slip grip.
The handle is really well balanced and comfortable. I think it’s mostly due to the handle ergonomics that I was able to chop effortlessly through larger items like branches and wood.
The other thing you need to know is that this knife has 3 lashing holes in the handle; this is great for lashing it to a pole and converting it into a spear!
The butt-end of the handle sports a steel pommel…so yes you can use to hammer, pound, break and smash things with the utmost of ease.
I have beef with almost every survival knife out there’s sheath. BUT this one is different, and I liked it. A lot…
The friction thumb lock mechanism holds the knife securely inside the sheath that’s made from military grade, mildew resistant nylon.
The Bells and Whistles
The Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife comes with some pretty awesome, very helpful and functional extras like:
- A built-in diamond sharpening stone – it’s built into the inside of the sheath, so every time you place the knife into the sheath, the fine edge is automatically touched up. You will have to invest in some other sharpening tool to tend to the serrated edge though…
- A fire starter – locking firmly into the bottom of the sheath is an ingenious little fire starter rod. We all know that fire can mean the difference between life and death in a survival scenario, which is why I think this is an amazing addition to the Bear Grylls Gerber Knife. The back of the knife houses the striker notch, so it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 and you’ve got yourself some sparks!
- A whistle – the small but loud emergency whistle sits on the lanyard at the butt end of the knife. It’s a great tool to have for when you need to call for help, but personally I just took it off because it got in my way while I was working.
- A Survival-Pocket Guide – a little pouch in the back of the sheath is where Gerber stashed a handy little guide containing all the info you need to survive out in the wild, and since it was written by Bear Grylls, I’ll assume that it can really be a lifesaver when the time calls for it.
I have to say that I’m not sure you’ll ever find another survival knife that sports this many great features, the same quality and the durability that the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife encompasses. You can buy it for around $50, depending on what specials are running. After testing one out, I bought mine on Amazon for $45 and got 3 extra to give to my buddies too!
For its amazing value, quality, design, innovative features and durability (not to mention the super affordable price tag) I score it a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
Should You Buy It?
Look, if you’re into camping, hiking, backpacking, hunting, emergency prepping and want to have a general piece of mind knowing that you’ve got a great survival knife to lend a hand, then yes!
However, if you’re in need of a military of tactical knife you’d be better off looking elsewhere, because it’s definitely NOT a combat weapon.
- It’s made with high quality materials
- It has a sharp blade that’s good at retaining its edge
- It comes with a fire starter, an emergency whistle, an in-sheath sharpener and a survival pocket guide
- The sheath is very durable
- The textured ergonomic handle is very solid and secures a great grip
- I would have loved a full tang construction, but at nearly double the price, I don’t think it’s worth it to buy the PRO version
- It’s a bit bulky, but then again it’s packed with kick-ass survival necessities, so it’s not the end of the world
- The serrated edges of the blade tend to dull out quickly
- The previous version of the Gerber Bear Grylls Knife had terrible issues with its construction, which is mainly why I was skeptical about it in the first place, so I really think that Gerber should have done a better job at promoting this knife under a new and improved name, and not just have stuck with the name that put them to shame back in 2011.
So there you have it. My brutally honest take on the Bear Grylls Gerber Knife. It’s a pretty impressive minimalist survival knife, but it’s not a tactical knife at all.
Coming up next I’ll spill my guts with a Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Review before I move on to my Gerber Prodigy Review and some other great knife brands I’ll pick on, so stay with me here!